Hearts 0-2 Rangers: Liam Boyce claims referee waited too long to book Allan McGregor for time wasting

Hearts striker Liam Boyce has accused referee Nick Walsh of being too lenient in dealing with time wasting tactics from Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor during the Scottish champions’ 2-0 win at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Hearts striker Liam Boyce (right) in a tussle with Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor (left) and midfielder Glen Kamara during the Premiership match at Tynecastle on Sunday.(Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Hearts striker Liam Boyce (right) in a tussle with Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor (left) and midfielder Glen Kamara during the Premiership match at Tynecastle on Sunday.(Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

McGregor, who made a string of fine saves during the contest, was content to slow the game down at every opportunity after Rangers had scored two early goals through Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo.

Walsh approached McGregor after an hour to issue a warning before eventually booking the veteran with 15 minutes of the game remaining.

“I was saying to the ref, it took him about 60 minutes before he stopped and spoke to him but didn’t book him,” said Boyce.

“I said to him in the first half ‘if you blow the whistle, tell him not to do it anymore then it would speed the whole game up’. But obviously it’s not me in control and it’s not my decision.

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“I was surprised when he went and said ‘no more’ instead of booking him and then it wouldn’t have happened again.

“It’s the same with throw-ins, if you book one person then nobody else it’s going to do it, because they know the referee is on it. It’s frustrating, but that’s just the way football is.”

Despite that complaint, Boyce looked no further than himself when assessing why Hearts lost. The Northern Ireland striker missed several good chances to score at key stages of the match.

“A couple of them were good saves (from McGregor) but I still expect myself to do better,” he said.

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“I thought we were excellent for most of the match and basically if I take half of my chances we don’t get beaten.

“It’s probably the best we have played on the ball and in terms of making chances, it’s just we didn’t take them.

“I’ll take most of the blame because I am here to score goals and that’s what I have been doing. But today just wasn’t my day. When everyone else is playing so well and working so hard to make those chances, that's when they mean more and you need to put them in the net.”

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